Angry Birds Space has one major difference compared to every other game in the multi-billion dollar franchise – it is in space. Normally you are relying on gravity to do most of the work, but Angry Birds Space mixes it up by throwing orbits and asteroids into the mix. Is this app a game changer for the series?
As you fling the birds, should they enter the orbit of a planetoid, it will be drawn to the core. Suddenly a rather simple game about where best to hit a stack in order for it to topple, becomes a more complex beast that forces you to think about how you fire the bird a little more. This is a change for the better as it eases you into the concept before throwing more taxing challenges your way.
Other than that, the game is largely the same as before. The irate poultry look a little more space age and mostly keep their Earthly powers, with the exception of the Yellow Bird, who has adopted being a homing pigeon with the touch of the destination. The sole new bird is the Ice Bird, who upon contact will linger for a few seconds before turning everything in the immediate vicinity into ice. Of course, this makes the Blue Bird that splits into three a far more appealing companion. The presentation as a whole is of a slightly superior quality to what we’re used to; perhaps a direct result of the millions of downloads worldwide.
Only two worlds are available at present, but they each contain 30 levels of bird flinging mayhem, some of which contain “Golden Eggsteroids” that transport you to secret levels that largely resemble old games such as Space Invaders and Super Mario Bros. Those wishing for more of a challenge can buy a third “hard” world available for a nominal sum that really ramps up the difficulty. They will merge orbits together, place inconvenient asteroids in your path, the lot! For such a small fee for an extra 30 levels, it feels completely worth it.
What isn’t worth it as such are the “Space Eagles”. Traditionally, Eagles were a one-off payment to get use of the Eagle throughout the game. It would only be limited by time if you haven’t completed the stage previously and would be free to use once a level is complete. They also used to clear the entire stage. Space Eagles, however, do not, and while you do get a few free, it quickly becomes clear that they are an inferior beast. At $0.99 for 20 uses of the Space Eagle, quickly ramping up to a top-tier price of $19.99 for 980 of them, it just doesn’t seem worth it. Thankfully though, the in-app purchases are not completely essential to play the game.
Perhaps the extra levels Rovio have promised will show us more ingenuity, but it is already a hugely promising start. Angry Birds Space alters the core gameplay in such a way that it feels fresh once more. If you have a compatible device, this is the perfect casual app. Just don’t be suckered into all the in-app purchases.
Version 1.0.1 reviewed on iPad 2.